How to Throw the Best Cocktail Party Ever

Whether your gatherings are starting to run together or you’re throwing your very first party ever, check out out tips for making your next cocktail party one worthy of a scene in Downton Abbey or Mad Men.

Throwing a cocktail party is probably one of the most grown-up, sophisticated things you can do in your NYC apartment. The fact that you’ve thrown tons of parties doesn’t take away from the feeling of excitement that overcomes you as you plan the menu and activities for your latest event. Whether your gatherings are starting to run together or you’re throwing your very first party ever, check out our tips for making your next cocktail party one worthy of a scene in Downton Abbey or Mad Men.

Party time

Image Source: Flickr

1. Shop Early or Take Advantage of Grocery Delivery Services

If you’re the type of person who loves to stroll the aisles of your favorite grocery store, grabbing up a fresh batch of cilantro, selecting the thickest salmon steaks, rolling slowly through the aisles as you pull together all the ingredients for your meal, make sure you do so early enough. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to get everything on the list. If it can’t be helped, however, and you’ve waited until the day of to get what you need, avail yourself of services like Instacart. They can deliver everything you need to your door in as little as an hour (if they’re not backed up).

2. Cook as Much as You Can in Advance

That way, you spend as little time as possible working the party and more time enjoying it.

3. Mix Expensive Treats with Affordable Ones When Planning Your Menu

You don’t have to spend a bajillion dollars on a cocktail party the way you would on a full dinner, so use the extra savings to mix it up and serve pricey but yummy cocktail party goodies. Top toasted ciabatta with caviar or truffles. Slice up some fresh mango and strawberries, whip up some rich Devon cream from British grocery store Myers of Keswick, dollop it into crystal glasses, and place the sliced fruit on top. Filet mignon as a main course for a crowd of 10 or 15 could set you back a pretty penny. Filet mignon hors-d’oeuvres topped with horseradish are just as dazzling and a lot more affordable.

4. Plan an Inclusive Menu

Chances are, your friends make up a pretty diverse culinary crowd with unique dietary needs and restrictions. Make sure that your menu takes care of all of them — whether they go for vegan, gluten-free, or raw-food fare — so no one goes hungry.

5. Send Real Invites

Real paper invites are a huge hit in this pixelized world. These days, people get a geeky thrill from receiving invites they can hold in their hands and pin to their fridges.

6. Plan Out Activities Ahead of Time

It probably goes without saying that you’re a joy to be around, and people look forward to your gatherings with great anticipation. Having said that, it would behoove even a rad party person like you to have backup entertainment on hand just in case the vibe suddenly dips south. It can happen at the best of parties: The mood is chugging along at Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show levels, when suddenly, wham — it’s C-Span in your space. It pays to be prepared!

7. Choose a Theme

Before you roll your eyes into the back of your head, a themed party doesn’t mean your guests have to arrive in full costume. Maybe you’ve just returned from Italy. Guests could bring something Italian, which could be as simple as a bottle of wine or a box of Italian cookies.

Main Image Source: Flickr

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